Due to its famed super-hydrating properties, cold-pressed aloe vera juice is the rage at juice bars across the country. It is also known for other potential benefits like immunity, digestive health, blood sugar, skin, and more.
Topical aloe vera gel can be safely applied on skin to soothe sunburns treat and other ailments according to most nutritionists’ however, consuming the juice of aloe vera is yet to prove the same benefits.
Though not proven, the trend for aloe vera juice is rising among thirsty wellness seekers as the global aloe vera juice market is expected to reach $1.7 billion by the end of 2026.
According to a report from 360 Research Reports, a market research group, sales of aloe vera juice is predicted to grow at a rate of about 8.9 percent each year.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant found in tropical regions, and is known to have been used for more than 6,000 years in medicine. The plant’s clear gel and yellow latex has been known for their healing properties. According to the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health), these two substances are commonly used in aloe-based health products, including aloe vera juice.
Vitamins and minerals
According to research published in the March 2020 issue of Molecules, aloe vera has antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E; vitamin B12), and minerals such as copper, calcium, zinc, selenium, and potassium, all of which are good for one’s wellbeing. Erika Laurion, a dietitian in Hudson, New York, thinks of aloe vera juice as an all in one cure for several reasons.
Immune system booster
Laurion believes because of a substance called acemannan, aloe vera juice is an immune system stimulant. “It also has anti-viral properties. It can soothe coughs and help with asthma.”
Aloe vera has salicylic acid for pain and inflammation relief. In aspirin and other related compounds, salicylic acid is the active ingredient. Also, aloe vera is anti-inflammatory.
The NCCIH notes that this could be why aloe can help reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis and reduce fever. “It also blocks histamine,” Laurion says.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology explains that histamine is a chemical released by your immune system when your body encounters an offending allergen.
Aloe vera juice can alleviate some tummy troubles, including constipation, by balancing good and bad bacteria in the gut. NCCIH notes that aloe latex can be used as a laxative to treat constipation.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the aloe vera latex contains anthraquinones such as aloin which helps with constipation.
It’s unclear on exactly how much of this potent laxative is in aloe vera juice, but up to 10 milligrams of aloin per kilogram of body weight for aloe is set as an upper limit safety standard by an aloe vera trade association. Be aware that companies do not have to list aloin content on their labels.
Aloe vera was widely marketed as an OTC (over the counter) laxative for a while, but in 2002, because of safety concerns including the risk of cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that it could no longer be sold as one.
Elena Fraga, RD, Diabetes Program Manager at The Diabetes Alliance at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City says these laxative properties can also decrease the absorption and effectiveness of some medications. It is best to consult with your doctor to avoid problems and possible dangerous side effects when combining aloe vera with your medication.
A study in the June 2016 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that aloe vera juice could reduce fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a measure that provides a guideline of average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. This is good news If you have diabetes or prediabetes.
However, Fraga cautions if not to drink aloe vera juice if you are a diabetic on medication to lower your blood sugar. The reason is aloe vera juice can also increase your insulin level, causing a double effect of lowering blood sugar further with your medication. The work of insulin is to move sugar from the blood into cells for energy. If there is too much insulin in your bloodstream, your cells will absorb too much sugar (glucose) from your blood, resulting in dangerously low blood sugar which can cause dizziness, seizures and even make you pass out.
Drinking Aloe Vera juice
Some health enthusiasts claim aloe vera juice has more benefits than plain water, which is not true, warns Monica Reinagel, MS, a dietician in Baltimore who has authored the book “Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet”. Monica says, “Aloe vera juice will not hydrate you any faster than regular water, and although aloe vera contains a few vitamins and antioxidants, it’s not a nutritional powerhouse. You can get these nutrients in greater quantities from much better-tasting foods.”
Another point to note is aloe vera juice when ingested will not have any effect on your skin. As Professor Adam Friedman, MD, professor and Interim Chair of Dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Hospital in Washington, D.C. says, “There is no real evidence that I know of that suggests that ingestion of aloe vera will have any skin benefits and it can interfere with the metabolism of multiple drugs, like diabetes and heart meds which can potentially cause dangerous adverse events.”
As aloe vera juice is not very palatable, (it has a citrusy slightly bitter flavor), other ingredients like sugar are added to improve its taste to make it commercially saleable. Hence commercially produced aloe vera juice is something to avoid for people who watch their weight or want to lose weight.
Alternatively, make your own aloe vera juice by extracting the gel and combining it with water, your favorite fruits or natural sweeteners.
To date there is no data to support any health benefit of consuming aloe vera juice. However, if you feel you should drink aloe vera juice, the best way would be to spend a little effort to prepare it by yourself at home.
27th May 18:35